Perfect paired with sweets… Ever tried them with Modica chocolate?
The Ispica carrot’s history began in the 1950s, when Dutch agricultural entrepreneurs identified the area around Ragusa as ideal for “season proofing” the product. That’s because, as opposed to northern Europe, the Ispica carrot is planted in the autumn and harvested in the spring. Cultivation of this variety has since spread to the coastal regions of Syracuse and Catania. The success enjoyed by Ispica carrots on national and international markets is due largely to their early harvest, as well as their shape and flavor. Set apart by their vivid hue and bold aroma, with herbaceous but fruity notes, this Sicilian cultivar is popular mainly for being especially sweet and tender. In addition to having Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, a consortium was founded in 2010 for the protection of the Ispica New Carrot, made up of 12 producers from areas where they’re grown
These sweet and crunchy carrots contain nutritional properties like beta carotene and minerals. They’re best eaten raw, maybe with just a drizzle of olive oil from Monti Iblei. You can best take advantage of all their nutrients and antioxidants by juicing them with other fruit and vegetables, which is a great option for a healthy breakfast. Their unique flavor has even inspired the master chocolatier Giuseppe Rizza to combine them with Modica chocolate. And while carrots go well with sweets, it’s also true that pair perfectly with aged cheeses with bold flavors, like caciocavallo and Ragusano DOP.
Did you know
They’re called “novella” or “new” because they mature between the end of February and early June. The period between harvesting and bringing them to market is extremely short – a feature that means they’re always especially fresh. Sicilians use them to balance out the flavor of mint and vinegar when cooking rabbit meat (cunigghiu a’ stimpirata in the local dialect) or in a broth to cook mullet fish. Sicilian chefs have used this noble vegetable in every form and function. This even includes carotello, a liqueur made from Ispica carrots and citrus fruits.